This parable of the vineyard had always held for me the mystery of sunlight shining through fog. I was sure something wonderful was there but couldn’t quite make out exactly what. I once figured that the owner of the vineyard kept retuning for more workers because he didn’t want to lose his harvest. It reminded me of working a hayfield with six of my friends till 2 am. A thunderstorm was rolling in and hay left in the field might be spoiled so we labored till the first drops of rain started falling. But the story of this man returning over and over to the town square till almost quitting time just seemed odd.
Why did he hire men even when it was almost quitting time and why pay them the same as the others? After all the guys who only worked one hour certainly weren’t producing enough to even cover their wage. But then I remembered that when the owner hired those fellows he asked why they were standing around all day and they told him ,”because no one hired us.” They had stayed because they clung to hope even as the afternoon shadows grew longer.
And isn’t that the wonderful depth of the grace of Jesus? He doesn’t come until even the final hours because he cares about hay ruined in his field or grapes left on the vine. He comes over and over looking for us. The lostness of people who no one else wants, who stand abandoned in the town square stirs God’s heart to action! So with whatever few hours we have in His field let’s work with joy, knowing that from the depths of His grace we will receive far more than we deserve on the day we stand before Him!
Matthew 6:28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin.
If you are like me maybe you been doing more some worrying off and on during this pandemic. We wonder if our family members will get sick or what is going to happen to our nation. We worry about going to the grocery store and wonder when we can go to church again.
The people listening to Jesus were not so much different than us. They had plenty of their own troubles – like corrupt government officials extorting them for money – the threat of getting leprosy that could put you in social isolation for life and a strict religious system that might get you kicked out of the synagogue for even listening to Jesus. So Jesus didn’t just say; “Don’t worry; Be happy!” Instead He talked about lilies. These weren’t the lilies we associate with Easter or the garden lilies we are familiar with but were flowers that grew wild in the fields of Galilee.
That kind of blossom reminds me of the wild flowers in the farm fields. Generally they were unnoticed while the hay was tall since they grew in the shade of the taller grass. But once the fields were mown and the hay made into bales their tiny yellow, purple and red blossoms put on quite a show. My job being to stack the bales I got the delight of a great view of them from my perch high atop the hay wagon as we road we back to the barn.
Since Jesus said to consider flowers as a stress reliever I thought that today it might be fun to just share some flower photos from my morning walks. Have a blessed and unworried day safe on the top of God’s hay wagon as he steers us slowly back to His barn!
Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Romans 12:3
As a teen-ager I lived on a small farm for about two years. Every day I had pigs to slop, cows to milk, chickens to feed and even a couple of goats to tend. But of all the animals we had on the farm the ones I liked the least were the geese. Yes some mornings the cow could be ill- tempered, the pigs were smelly, and the chickens needed constant protection from the local raccoon but the annoying thing about geese is how they acted like they were better than any of the other animals on the farm.
Whenever I approached to feed them they would stick out their necks and hiss and flap their wings in a phony show of courage. But if I took a few steps toward them, they would turn tail and run as fast as their clumsy webbed feet could carry them. No matter how much they hissed, flapped or ran they never really convinced anyone of their importance. In fact one of my favorite things on the fourth of July was to shoot bottle rockets close to those geese and then laugh uproariously as they hissed and honked – (Remember I was a teen-ager!)
But before feeling so smug about how foolish those geese were I need to ask myself about the times when to God I must have looked a lot like those geese. He sees me put on a great show of bravery and self-importance for my family, neighbors, or church; but when faced with real danger I have often run for the hills. How amazing that God still loves me and doesn’t treat me like I sometimes treated our poor silly geese. Instead He gently corrects me and tells me to remember that my importance isn’t about being better than others. No one is better than anyone else in God’s family. We are all loved and are each given a different job to do. So let’s not act like silly geese. Yes, God has made us special – but not better than anyone else on the farm!